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If SEPTA Transit Police go on strike, who fills the void? What you need to know

What happens if SEPTA Transit Police go on strike?
What happens if SEPTA Transit Police go on strike? 02:20

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- If SEPTA police officers head to the picket line, other area law enforcement agencies are positioned to step in and fill that void.

But for Philadelphia, available staffing is already a challenge.

Officially, Philadelphia police say the strike will have minimal impact on calls for help. They'll respond, but a SEPTA police work stoppage means questions about a naturally increased volume of fewer available officers.

RELATED: SEPTA Metro aims to make Philadelphia's public transportation system easier to use

A CBS News Philadelphia investigation earlier this month revealed Philadelphia is down nearly 1,000 officers.

That's 15% fewer officers than the department's so-called "authorized strength." 

With a SEPTA strike, figures show more than 250 SEPTA police officers won't come to work.

The officers cover SEPTA property across the city and into Delaware, Bucks, Chester and Montgomery Counties – as well as regional rail that reaches Trenton and Wilmington.

At the massive 69th Street transportation hub, SEPTA police stay busy answering calls.

A source within the Upper Darby Township Police Department said a strike would amount to a "headache" for his officers.

RELATED: SEPTA's locomotive engineers union unanimously votes to authorize strike

Sources said the timing of a possible strike is also a public safety challenge with a shortened holiday work-week, a large parade on Thanksgiving and other holiday attractions in Center City.

A SEPTA spokesperson said if there is a strike – 50 SEPTA police supervisors, who are not part of the union, would remain on the job and work longer shifts.

Scheduled days off would be canceled depending on the length of the strike.

SEPTA said it would also add more security guards for the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines.

SEPTA added it has commitments for patrol and response from state police and university police departments, as well as police forces across the suburbs.

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